The Air Our Children Breathe: PM 2.5 Pollution Survey of New Haven

First name: 
Seung Hyun (Lucia)
Last name: 
Class Year: 
John Wargo
Essay Abstract: 
Particulate matter sized 2.5 micrometers or smaller is one of the criteria pollutants that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates in the interests of both public health and climate change. This paper seeks to characterize the spatial and temporal patterns of PM 2.5 concentrations in New Haven, Connecticut. I analyzed the hourly PM 2.5 concentration and meteorological data from a stationary ambient monitor and conducted a personal sampling of both outdoor and indoor air, using three elementary schools as key sampling sites. I found that wind speed is the major determinant of PM 2.5 concentration rather than the weekday rush-hour traffic patterns. Also, the local sources of pollution dictated the PM 2.5 concentration rather than proximity to highways. Compared to a personal monitor, the state’s ambient monitor recorded lower concentration values. Additionally, the PM 2.5 concentration indoors was significantly less than outdoors. I concluded that the state’s tools for air quality regulations – ambient monitors and the Air Quality Index – are limited in protecting the susceptible group of asthmatic children.